CAGC Celebrates Women in Construction Week

Originally Posted March 10, 2021 | Updated April 20, 2021
We were proud to celebrate Women in Construction Week from March 8 - March 12, 2021. With so much to honor and offer our members, we continued our celebration for an entire month. This year, we showcased members who are driven leaders and are making valuable contributions to our industry; we highlighted four entrepreneurs in a podcast series featuring women making a difference in construction through their leadership and workforce development efforts; we featured a series of advertisements for our Build Your Career Program highlighting women and girls and the benefits of a construction career for women; and we participated in virtual events. Our members joined us in the celebration by participating in their own campaigns and sharing our efforts.

Members say it best

At Carolinas AGC, we are fortunate to be surrounded by many women who are not only skilled at what they do for their companies and the industry, but are excellent role models for women currently in the industry and women who may want to join the field, as well as young girls considering a career in construction.  As part of our celebration, we highlighted quotes from a handful of these members from across the Carolinas.  
Quote from Cathryn Poplin
Quote from Lascenta Lewis-Ellis
Quote from Lindsay Smith
Quote from Lynn Hansen
Quote from Tracy Strickland

Women in Construction Week Podcast Series: We Were Built for This

In this series of Buildercast we celebrated the success of women in Construction and got to know some of the many female leaders in the industry who are positive drivers of change, and powerhouses in the industry. We discussed the journey of women in this field as well as the inherent qualities and characteristics of women that make us perfectly suited to this rewarding career.

For our finale episode of the Women in Construction series, we asked Carolinas AGC staff members to pick their favorite moments from our extraordinary guests interviewed during our “We Were Built for This” and “Diversity and Inclusion” series of  our Buildercast podcast.
In order of appearance:  


  • Pat Rodgers, Rodgers - We Were Built For This, Episode 3, Part I & II
  • Patrice Gilmore - Diversity & Inclusion, DPR Construction - Episode 3
  • Lasenta Lewis-Ellis, LLE Construction Group, LLC - Diversity & Inclusion, Episode 1 
  • Susie Lewis, Beam Construction - We Were Built For This, Episode 2
  • Nish Evans, Lennox and Grae Construction, Inc & Charlie Wilson, C. T. Wilson Construction Company, Inc. - We Were Built For This, Episode 4
  • Nora Spencer, Hope Renovations - We Were Built For This, Episode 1
Throughout these episodes, words like opportunity, creativity, hard work, passion, drive, tenacity, conviction and integrity are staples. You’ll also hear about receiving help from others in the community, appreciating some of the good luck that led to successful careers, and the importance of giving back and telling more young people about the vast opportunities in our industry. With leaders like this, our industry has a bright future.

We sure hope you enjoy this mash up of “best of” moments much as we did!


Guest Speaker: Nish Evans, President & CEO Lennox and Grae Construction, Inc.
Guest Speaker: Charlie Wilson, President C. T.  Wilson Construction Company, Inc.
BuilderCast Host: Betsy Bailey, NC Government Relations & Building Div. Director
BuilderCast Co-Host and Producer: Sharon Walters, Director of Digital Operations

Nish Evans had spent 12 years in corporate finance roles when  she decided she wanted to build a legacy for herself. After some self-reflection and research, she found the construction industry and she went after a career. She tells us about that journey, the construction industry advisors that were critical to her success, and what we can do now to attract more women into the industry.

Nish Evans"Something I often share with youth as well is that it's not just what we tend to think of in terms of laboring or some of those different roles... There's project management and estimating. This is all about if you can solve problems and you are attracted to that - this is one of the best industries to be in."
Nish Evans, Lennox and Grae Construction, Inc.
Charlie Wilson got a call about someone that eagerly wanted to get into the industry. He was blown away by her determination and drive to get started. C. T. Wilson believes that bringing in  smart people is beneficial for the whole industry and wanted to be a part of that journey. Charlie tells us what he learned while Nish was with the team and how we can continue to encourage those with vision to pursue a career in construction.

Charlie Wilson"We need more people of all types in this industry....Broaden your horizons and look beyond just the degree and experience and really look at the person. Is this person driven and care about what they want to do? In the end I think somebody who wants to work hard to learn is more valuable then someone who maybe halfway learned it before and thinks they are done."

Charlie Wilson, C. T. Wilson Construction Company, Inc.

Guest Speaker: Pat Rodgers, Rodgers
BuilderCast Series Host: Betsy Bailey, Government Relations Director 
Co-Host and Producer: Sharon Walters, Director of Digital Operations

Pat Rodgers"The key is that I never underestimated myself. I knew I had a lot to learn, was anxious to learn as much as I could and I just didn’t dwell on it. You know, If you dwell on possibly being underestimated, you won’t have enough energy to do what you need to do to be successful.”

“One of my favorite quotes is from Nelson Mandela. “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” So never give up if your doing something you're are passionate about.”

Pat Rodgers, President & CEO, Rodgers Charlotte, NC

In Part 2 of this episode, Pat Rodgers discusses how proud she feels being a part of such important projects in our communities. She also focuses on the importance of giving back, her experiences and opportunities available to women in the industry. Most importantly, we discussed having a passion for this industry and running your own business in general. Having passion and never giving up are keys to success. 

We want to thank Pat for her time, her willingness to share her story, her thoughtful advice and outlook, and certainly her dedication and generosity to this industry.

In this series of Buildercast we are excited to celebrate the success of women in Construction and get to know some of the many female leaders in the industry who are positive drivers of change, and powerhouses in the industry. We discuss the journey of women in this field as well as the inherent qualities and characteristics of women that make us perfectly suited to this rewarding career.

Guest Speaker: Pat Rodgers, Rodgers
BuilderCast Series Host: Betsy Bailey, Government Relations Director 
Co-Host and Producer: Sharon Walters, Director of Digital Operations

Pat Rodgers"Running a business is not for the faint of heart. And you do have to have that passion for it you have to really care about it. Years ago I read a book by Paul Hawkin (Smith & Hawkin) wrote...and one of the things I remember reading that book... is that if the only reason you go into business is to make money, then you probably won't".

"...So I think you have to care passionately about what you do and you have to give back. It's really important to all of us at Rodgers to give back whether our time, talents or financial support, that we give back to our industry and our communities where our people live and work."

Pat Rodgers, President & CEO, Rodgers Charlotte, NC

Pat Rodgers never thought she would land in the construction industry. She found a two-day part time commitment when she moved to Charlotte and needed a job. That job was with Rodgers Builders. She was asked to stay on and help with some other positions and she decided she would. Over the years, she was offered, and took advantage of every opportunity to grow and learn the business.

Pat discusses the wide open opportunities our industry offers to anyone willing to work hard, and learn the business. She also identifies technology as one reason our industry can and is attracting more young people. 

She closes part one of this two part episode by talking about how important it is for business to give back to the community. Rodgers really has a passion for building beautiful facilities. In fact, their tagline is "Building is our Passion." In this interview, you learn that they are just as passionate about giving back and they show it. 


Guest Speaker: Susie Lewis, Beam Construction
BuilderCast Series Host: Betsy Bailey, Government Relations Director 
Co-Host and Producer: Sharon Walters, Director of Digital Operations


Susie Lewis"You know, one of the things that I still get charged up about and love about construction is that there is a great sense of pride in driving down the road and being able to point to a building that you were a part of building -whether I personally had any involvement or not, but that Beam Construction built that."

Susie Lewis, President of Beam Construction, Cherryville, NC

Susie Lewis personifies a life in construction. Her Dad, Tom Brown, owned Beam Construction and there were 6 children in the family. In their house, there was no discrimination - boys and girls all helped with projects around the house. They also all gained much exposure to construction during family vacation stops to check on jobsites. Susie interest in how things were built, led her to pursue an engineering degree and first job out of college before taking over operations at Beam Construction in 1994. Susie has continued to build on her success through education and experience. 

We talked with her about being in the industry and a multi-generational family business. We also get her outlook on the vast opportunities for women in construction, and thoughts about the natural instincts and talents women have that are so well suited for this industry.



Guest Speaker: Nora Spencer, Hope Renovations
BuilderCast Series Host: Tammy Ford, Director of Build Your Career Initiative BuilderCast
Co-Host and Producer: Sharon Walters, Director of Digital Operations

Nora Spencer“Women are good at details, they are tenacious, they don’t give up. They are curious learners and love to learn. Women show up. We have a different way of looking at work a lot of times and I think that is really appreciated and needed in the industry.”

"...You’re coming into an industry where there is not a cultural expectation that women are not worth as much, so as women are coming into the industry, they are getting paid as much as their male counterparts and that is specific to construction industry. You don’t find that in any other industry.” 

Nora Spencer, Hope Renovations on the qualities women possess that bring so much value to this industry and the unique earning potential specific to construction.

While working in HR at Lowe’s, Nora was exposed to and became interested in construction trades and began doing some of her own remodeling jobs on her own. During that time, she noticed (to her dismay) that there were not many women working in the field. After a change in career goals and some training and experience in social work, she decided she wanted to bring about social change in the lives of women through construction trade training. She knew that the trades offer opportunities to lift people out of poverty and provide sustainable, rewarding careers and in 2020 she founded Hope Renovations.

In this episode she helps us dig into the history of women in construction, the traits and characteristics inherent in women that lend so much value to the industry and what the industry has to offer women and has offered women throughout the first year of the Hope Renovations program.

Build Your Career Ad Series

Women are designed for careers in construction! There are many available positions where they can use their unique skills and be just as effective as men. We are spreading the word that construction is a perfect career path for women. Let us know if you would like to partner with us! Contact BYC Director Tammy Ford for more information.

BYC - You are built for this
BYC - Create Something  Different Every day
BYC - Driven to succeed? Nailed it!
BYC - Break the glass ceiling
BYC - Preparing for this job all your life

More from CAGC

In addition to our own efforts, CAGC staff members participated in events throughout the week. Vice President of Operations Leslie Clark participated in a multi-industry networking meet & greet event online on Thursday, March 11.  During this Zoom meeting, attendees broke up into smaller chat rooms to give everyone a chance to introduce themselves and ask a few round table discussion questions to educate everyone on what each industry association provides. The event was sponsored by the Columbia South Carolina Chapter of NAWIC.

AGC of America Celebrates WIC Week

AGC joined Carolinas AGC in celebrating Women in Construction week. In addition to spotlights on social media and the AGC Connection mobile app, they celebrated in the following ways:

New Sexism in the Workplace Toolkit

AGC’s Culture of CARE Sexism in the Workplace Toolkit consists of three toolbox talks and a discussion guide to help “pledged companies” prepare for and successfully hold discussions with their employees about sexism in the workplace and create actionable next steps following those conversations.

ConstructorCast Podcast: Leading Women Lead in Construction

IConstructor Cast: Leading Women Lead in Constructionn this episode, leading women – Lori Dunn-Guion of Swinerton, Maura Hesdon of Shoemaker Construction Co., and Lauline Mitchell of BBI Construction and current NAWIC National VP – share their stories and insights on how to recruit, train and empower women in construction. Listen to find out what attracted them to construction, the skills that have helped them succeed in the industry, and the tools for building a more welcoming, safe, and inclusive workplace.

Lori Dunn-Guion, Division Manager at Swinerton
Maura Hesdon, General Manager at Shoemaker Construction Co.
Lauline Mitchell, Project Manager at BBI Construction and 2020-2021 NAWIC National Vice President

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